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Ashley Judd is speaking out about her late mother Naomi Judd, who died by suicide in April.
The actress revealed more specific details on the Grammy Award winner’s death during an interview with Diane Sawyer on “Good Morning America” today, per Deadline. Earlier this month, People Magazine, citing sources, reported that Judd died by suicide.
“It was a mixed day,” Judd said. “I visit with my mom and pop every day when I’m home in Tennessee, so I was at the house visiting as I am every day. Mom said to me, ‘Will you stay with me?’ and I said, ‘Of course I will.’… I went upstairs to let her know that her good friend was there and I discovered her. I have both grief and trauma from discovering her.”
Judd told “Good Morning America” that the family had agreed to share details on her mother’s death to “spread awareness” about mental illness and available treatments for it.
“When we’re talking about mental illness, it’s very important and — to be clear, and to make the distinction between our loved one and the disease,” she continued. “It’s very real — and it’s enough to — it lies. It’s savage.”
Judd went on to explain how Naomi “couldn’t hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers.”
“That is the level of catastrophe of what was going on inside of her, because the barrier between the regard in which they held her couldn’t penetrate into her heart, and the lie the disease told her was so convincing,” Judd shared.
Naomi and the rest of the Judds were scheduled to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on May 1. According to Fox News, Naomi and daughter Wynonna reunited at the CMA Awards for a performance just weeks prior. The mother and daughter pair announced plans to go back on tour for the first time in 10 years.
Per Deadline, this interview was released just ahead of a public memorial for the country music legend. “Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration” will air as an exclusive, commercial-free live special on CMT on Sunday, May 15 at 6 p.m. PT/5 p.m. CT.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free hotline for individuals in crisis or distress or for those looking to help someone else. It is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.